Wednesday 1st to Sunday 19th July 2020
The biggest open-access Fringe between Brighton and Edinburgh, Buxton Fringe hosts some 600 events with music, theatre, comedy, spoken word, dance, film, children's events, street theatre, visual arts and more.
www.buxtonfringe.org.uk Facebook.com/buxtonfringe Twitter: @buxtonfringe
Writing Fringe press releases about all the brilliant
theatre shows coming up – and theatre makes up almost a third of our total
programme – it occurred to me that there are an awful lot of one-person shows
Some stand out examples include Freerange
Theatre, which last year gained two Fringe Award nominations and a Manchester
Theatre Award nomination for Spoonface Steinberg starring Rebecca Fenwick, and
is reviving the production as part of its Unmissable Monologues season, and
Olivier Award-nominated actor Gerard Logan who plays Oscar Wilde languishing in
his prison cell in Wilde Without The Boy, a Fringe production that is also part
of Buxton Festival.
Fringe Award winner Patricia Hartshorne
combines horror and humour in her First World War production When The Band
Begins to Play (albeit accompanied on piano by Peter Dobson) and Uproot Theatre
Company, responsible for last year’s popular show Around the World in 80 Days,
is back with a one-man version of Treasure Island. Meanwhile over at new venue
The Market Place Sian Dudley takes that spirit of adventure online with WOW, a
show exploring the idea of a virtual reality in which heroic fantasies are
limitless. Chris Neville-Smith has something to say about the whole notion of hero-worship
in his one-man show Waiting for Gandalf.
It’s hard to beat the intensity of
one-person shows – Cameryn Moore has already won acclaim for her taboo-busting
performance in Phone Whore as has Doug Devaney for his tragic-comic play The
Angina Monologue. Stand by for a glimpse into a woman’s soul in Shrew, new
writing by Ami Jones, and in Alan Bennett’s Talking Head, Soldiering On,
revived by library theatre touring company.
Ginny Davis decides to "plus one" in Fashionably Late
it’s also interesting to see that Fringe favourite Ginny Davis, nominated for a
Fringe Award in 2011, has broken with her one-woman format in her humorous
latest show Fashionably Late about a family struggling against adversity to
organise a party. She is joined on stage by James Goldsworthy who trained with
the Year Out Drama Company, Stratford upon Avon, and has delighted preview
audiences performing 9 of the 13 roles in Fashionably Late. “Quite simply, he's
a natural.” Ginny tells us. “I'm delighted to be performing alongside such a
talented 21 year old. He is just as thrilled to be sharing the stage with a
woman old enough to be his grandmother. He's never said so, but you can tell,
Whether boasting one,
two, three or more performers, Fringe shows, often in tiny venues, have a way
of promising a special intimacy in any case. We’d be interested to hear from
performers about why they do or don’t go solo and from audiences about which
they prefer – let us know…
Today's the day that our local printers, Galloways, are even as we speak printing 18,000 copies of the Fringe programme. Somewhere amongst all that detailed information there is bound to be some kind of mistake but right now I'm finding it quite liberating to consider that after weeks of proofing and pouring over it, finally we can do nothing whatsoever about it! The programme may of course be perfect (thanks to Eric Tilley's design, it certainly looks beautiful) but even if that's the case, it's quite likely that there will be the odd change to events before the Fringe happens, which is where the website comes in as the perfect place to publicise any alterations. We advise audience members to check on the website before seeing a show and our trusty Fringe Information Desk is also well aware of the current state of play during the Fringe itself. While we've been putting together the programme, Fringe performers will have been organising their posters and flyers and no doubt experience the same mixture of excitement and angst as artwork is finally signed off and given to the printer. If you have a shop window in Buxton please be sympathetic when asked to display a poster - think of it as free decoration! Then in the lead up to the Fringe, performers rehearse like mad to minimise the risk of mistakes on the night. The show happens - it goes well or not but either way there is a massive sense of relief and usually a great need to unwind in the Fringe Club afterwards! Looking at the Fringe programme however, I'm interested to see how many performers actually court a little danger. Improvisation experts Scrap the Script and To Be Continued in our Comedy section are inviting audiences to shout out ideas on the night ready for them to be transformed into instant sketches while impro troupe ComedySportz has put itself in the For Families section, which can mean only one thing - children in the audience! Everyone knows that Fringe favourites The Shakespeare Jukebox on the Opera House Forecourt are hugely practised at what they do but don't underestimate the element of risk here too - it's the audience that chooses which Shakespearean scene from the Jukebox menu will be performed each time. Buxton Drama League is also behind the brand new Panto Capers Workshop on July 19. Talk about making it up as they go along - the idea here is to create a scratch panto within a day! American author Helen Keller once said: "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all". So let's embrace Fringe bravery in all its forms, from the frisson of signing off a piece of print to the massive adrenaline rush of stepping out on the boards to make an audience laugh. Break a leg!
Buxton's second Spring Fair was a blast as has been widely and accurately reported almost everywhere. Many thanks to all the people who staffed our stall - we had neighbourly support from the Buxton Festival on one side and the Old Hall burger and hot dog stall on the other. Big thanks to Janet Miller and the Buxton Town Team for organising such a brilliant showcase for all that is best about the town. Also nice to see Roger Child from Partita and Andrea Joseph from Dr Sketchy Sketch who dropped off new flyers and posters for their Fringe events. We had a lovely time talking to so many people eager for the Fringe programme. The design work is now complete and the programme will be out at the end of the month. Meanwhile, of course, you can see details of all 153 events on our website. We were asked "Are the Smooth Faced Gentlemen performing at Fringe 2014?" We had, sadly, to report "No". So, SFG, let's see you back in 2015. We gave away dozens of balloons and badges in a bid to paint the town orange - though, to be fair, the Billerettes and B&Q contributed something there. Just down the Crescent from us was the Buxton Brewery portable bar. A remarkable achievement given that some of the team had returned from a beer festival in Copenhagen just hours before where they may have drunk quite a lot. This seems hard to believe - getting drunk at a Danish beer fest? Anyway we're delighted, beyond words, to report that Buxton Brewery will be providing a Fringe Beer again this year. Though we shall say now - and repeat this often - do drink and Fringe responsibly.
OK so I pinched that headline from our flyer (currently doing the rounds) but all this sunshine has got me thinking about happy days in the heat at last year's Fringe and whether we are in for something similar this year. It's probably just as well that we don't seem to get long range weather forecasts any more and are required just to just enjoy sun while we have it (or 'mek most of it' in Derbyshire-speak). Certainly yesterday's Spring Fair in the town was blessed with some very favourable weather and the crowds were out in full to see our Fringe stand (and a few others) and remind themselves about all the good things going on in Buxton.
Good weather during the Fringe can be weirdly controversial in any case. Too hot and it can drive audiences away from shows though too rainy can have the same effect or worse. Going to the Fringe certainly doesn't mean you have to miss out on being outdoors. For starters there is our entire Street Theatre section to entertain you. In addition to regular attractions the Fringe Carnival Float, the multi-award winning Shakespeare's Jukebox and that feast of delights Fringe Sunday in the Pavilion Gardens, there is also a new initiative this year, Fringe at Five at the Bandstand in the Pavilion Gardens. Entirely free, it will offer a chance to hear Fringe performers delivering up to 30 minutes of music, dance or drama at 5pm.
Look out too for Buxton Day of Dance from Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris Men hosting over 200 dancers and musicians from up to 20 different dancing sides, all popping up at different places around the town. For children who like to enjoy some fresh air with their Fringe fun, try Tiny! Wildness - make some teeny tiny characters and tell your own stories in the Pavilion Gardens with the help of the experienced artists from stone & water.
I'm also intrigued by the Grinlow Art and Storytelling Trail - an enchanting transformation of Buxton's local woods by Poole's Cavern. Discover artworks and a magic garden before enjoying some story telling up at the top.
If it's seriously hot you could do worse than head for Poole's Cavern - a cool 7 degrees C whatever the weather outside and this year a venue for Butterfly's Dracula's Women Underground (they are the people who have done Hamlet and Macbeth to great acclaim there in the past). And if it pours with rain, well you are very welcome to huddle into the Fringe information desk next to the Opera House and perhaps buy one of our limited edition Fringe umbrellas. I just hope we are not talking tropical downpour here as we've had flooding in there in the past!
But hey, Nick Robinson says Buxton is the Tuscany of the North so let's go with that thought for now as we look forward to another summer of 'sizzling entertainment' (yes, that's from the flyer too...)